RONAN — Gov. Greg Gianforte traveled to Ronan Tuesday on Montana Agriculture Day to visit a fourth-generation potato, grain and seed farm.
“This is a sophisticated operation and that’s what you need to get ahead in agriculture today,” said Gianforte.
Lake Farms owner Jack Lake specializes in five varieties of potato and potato seed as well as grain, and mint seed.
“Run about 1,000 acres, most of it is irrigated and about 160 acres will be for potatoes,” Lake told MTN News.
Lake says his grandfather moved to the Ronan area back in 1934. He says it’s the hard work of his family and respect for the land that makes Lake Farms a successful operation, year-after-year.
“You take care of the soil and it will take care of you,” said Lake.
Gianforte says Montana is home to more than 27,000 farms and ranches across the state.
“Agriculture is our number one industry in the state and today's a day to celebrate it, I was thrilled to see their potato operation here, their seed sales operation and it’s just great to see these multi-generational farmers that are making a living here in Montana,” said Gianforte.
Last spring when food supply was low in grocery stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lake and his employees sprang into action, giving out thousands of pounds of free potatoes to neighbors in need.
“It was hard to come by food in the stores, it was amazing how all of a sudden those shelves were empty, we were all in it to try to keep everybody fed,” said Lake.
Potato shipping season for the Lake family will run through the end of April.
Lake Farms products are shipped all over the Northwest.